Note: There is no transcript for CHAT DAY 2018, which was cancelled due to the Government Shutdown initiated on January 20, 2018.

These questions were answered by more than 50 individual scientists and science writers with expertise in addiction. To get as many answered as possible, responses were written quickly based on the personal background and knowledge of each expert. Please note that there was not a secondary review or proofreading of each fact, and if readers have questions or comments about any response, they can ask further questions here.

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can drugs help you with everyday stress? and can they help you perform in sports?

-bigseltz, New Jersey

Hi there,If you have a level of stress that affects your daily life then you may want to talk to your doctor, maybe he can prescribe a medication (or behavioral intervention) to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with your condition. Regarding sports, there are many (ergogenic) substances that are either known or reported to enhance your athletic performance. Anabolic steroids, erythropoietin, Growth hormone, come to mind, but they are all banned substances with adverse effects.Thanks for the good question and take care

-Ruben Baler

Can drugs lead to diseases or death?

-warda, New York

absolutely. Go to to learn more...

-David Thomas

can drugs make u die faster


The short answer is yes, they can make you die sooner than you would ordinarily. Overdose is the obvious reason, but drug use can lead to injury or death through accidents, crashes, falls, violence, and infections or diseases one might have acquired while intoxicated. When you are drunk or high on drugs, you often can't make good decisions. Just ask Kim, who took drugs, hooked up with a boy she hardly knew, and got HIV. Read her story at

-Marsha Lopez

can drugs make u ugly

-nidachat, New Hampshire

oh yeah!!! One example that immediately comes to mind is methamphetamine. There are pictures online of people before and after meth abuse. It is unreal!!! Their teeth get rotten, and the skin gets all blotchy! UGLY! For more info on drugs, see

-David Thomas

Can you get addicted to perscription drugs?

-powerup12, Kentucky

Yes, absolutely. That's an important question because some people believe that if a doctor prescribes a drug, it must not be addictive. The catch is, these drugs can be addictive when people use them other than as prescribed by the doctor.The most commonly abused prescription drugs are pain relievers like oxycontin and vicodin. In 2009, approximately 1.4 million individuals aged 12 or older were addicted to pain relievers. This risk for addiction is a real threat -- and it highlights the importance of using prescrition drugs ONLY under the close supervision of a physician.Here's more information on prescirption drugs:

-Kevin Conway

Can you get addicted to weed?

-zEFRON, Vermont

yes--9% of users; 1 in 6 if you start young; and 25-50% of daily users become addicted

-Susan Weiss

can you get brain damage by sniffing those scented markers?

-Num nums, New Jersey

Yup. The organic solvents in those markers are what we call 'inhalants' and go directly to fatty tissues and membranes and dissolve the lipids. The organs with the most lipids are your brain and your liver. Children can be particularly susceptible to inhalants--some of whom have died after a single session of inhaling.

-Nancy Pilotte

Can you get dependent on Pain killers even though you got them prescribed by a doctor?

-Flamboiantchick, Utah

I love this question! Lot's of people get confused about this. Yes, you can get dependent on prescription pain killers (opioids). However, this is NOT addiction. Drug dependence is when you have a physiological reaction to stopping taking a drug. With long-term opioid treatment, dependence is common.However, addiction is a different story. Addiction is compulsive use despite harm. That is a lot less common when you get the pain killers from doctors for an actual pain condition. For more info, see

-David Thomas

can you get drunk from peroxcide ?

-trios, Pennsylvania

There isn't any alcohol in peroxide, so it wouldn't make you drunk, but it would probably make you really sick!

-Aaron White

Can you get high by smoking paper?

-Num nums, New Jersey

Probably not, but it depends on what the paper is made out of. My guess that most smoking most types of paper would have more bad effects than good, since when you burn paper and inhale the smoke, it releases a wide variety of chemicals, some of which can lead lung problems including cancer.

-Steve Grant

can you get high by smoking seasonings?

-Mercedes, Vermont

I doubt it; although there may be some seasoning out there that might do it, I guess. I just don't know.Let me know if you know of a specific one.thanks

-Ruben Baler

Can you get high from snorting pixie sticks?

-ASHS, Maryland

nope, just some burning in your nose. I heard some doctors say that maggots could grow there, but I think it's just a rumor.

-Ruben Baler

can you get high of smoking banna peels?

-seniorbrwnwater, Kentucky


-Nancy Pilotte

can you get high of smoking nutmeg?

-seniorbrwnwater, Kentucky

This is a myth that keeps popping up.

-Nancy Pilotte

Can you get high off of any prescription or over-the-counter drug?

-starprepacademy, California

No you can't get high off of just any prescription or over-the-counter drugs. For example, people don't get high from antibiotics. Only drugs that activate specific circuits in the brain will make you high. If you want to learn more about how drugs work in the brain to produce their euphoric effects check out our website,

-Cindy Miner

Can you get high off of medicated marijuana?

-saaabrinuh, New Jersey

yes--marijuana makes you high--it doesn't really matter why you are using it. But it depends on how much you smoke and a variety of other factors. You can also get addicted if you use it repeatedly. Also, just fyi, marijuana is not an FDA-approved medication although some states have legalized its medical use

-Susan Weiss

can you get high off of sharpie markers?

-Rocky, New Jersey

I would not describe the feeling as a high (although I've never inhaled myself :) , is probably more like the effect of a heavy dose of alcohol.

-Ruben Baler

Can you get high off sharpies?

-12345, New Jersey

I would not describe the feeling as a high (although I've never inhaled myself :) , is probably more like the effect of a heavy dose of alcohol.

-Ruben Baler

Can you get high off white out?

-Hackettstown, New Jersey

I would not call it a high, it is more like the feeling of being drunk and perhaps some loss of consciousness.Bad idea.

-Ruben Baler

Do drugs effect your poop?

-Hackettstown, New Jersey

New Jersey - I am curious why you are asking this question. Drugs can affect your poop by making you have diarrhea or making you constipated. Drugs are also deposited in your poop. A good example is that when trying to determine if a baby was exposed during pregnancy to drugs, we can measure the drugs in their poop after they are born. Other than this, there's not much more to say ...

-Marilyn Huestis

do drugs make someone spermcells go low


Yes, and they also cause increased portions of the sperm to be mis-shaped. Not only that, but it has been shown that alcohol affects molecules that attach to DNA of the sperm that effect how the DNA is 'read' by the body or the developing fetus. This can cause the resulting babies to have lowered growth or mental capacity even if the mom never did any drugs or alcohol.

-Jim Bjork

do drugs make you do poorly in school?

-nidichat, New Hampshire

Drugs are chemicals that work in the brain by tapping into its communication system and interfering with the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. This can mess you up. More info is at When you are drunk or high on drugs, you often can't make good decisions. Not to mention, there is a lot we still don't know about who becomes addicted and why, and after how much drug exposure. We do know that each person is different, so it's a little like playing 'Russian Roulette' if you choose to use drugs. Continued use of drugs changes how your brain functions, impairing your ability to think clearly, to feel OK without drugs, and to control your behaviors. These all contribute to doing poorly in school.

-Marsha Lopez

do drugs make you loose your muscles?

-shane(, Kentucky

Steroids and other 'body building' drugs can have profound effects on your muscle structure. In the short term, they can increase muscle growth, but over the long term, the effects can damage muscles and cause other unpleasant side effects. Other drugs can affect your strength and endurance because you tend not to exercise or eat right. See this video on steroids, featuring NIDA scientist Dr. Ruben Baler:

-Steve Grant


-16976678, Maryland

Along other inhalants like paint and gasoline, the chemical vapors from glue can be very dangerous.Your lungs absorb inhaled chemicals into the bloodstream very quickly, sending them throughout the brain and body. Along with your 'high,' sniffing glue may result in death from heart failure or suffocation (inhalants displace oxygen in the lungs). You can get more information from our teen site at

-Jane Lipkin

do hallucinogens really expand your thinking and differ your thought posses for the better?

-purpledubs, Utah

They make you see things that are not there. If you call that expanding, then it does. However, when people talk about the 'mind expanding' effects of halucinigens like LSD, they usually mean to say you have a clearer view of the Universe and human condition when on them. I don't think there is any evidence for that. For more info on drugs, see

-David Thomas

Do I lose more brain cells smoking weed or drinking?

-Paulr, Maryland

It's tough to directly compare the effects of alcohol and marijuana on the brain because they are so different. For teenagers, both drugs interfere with how the brain develops and grows. The brain is changing in very important ways during the teenage years and alcohol can interfere with brain development. Research tells us that drinking lots of alcohol during the teenage years can make the part of the brain called the frontal lobes smaller. The frontal lobes help us make decisions, think about things and pay attention. Teenagers who drink a lot have problems with these things. Alcohol also can shrink the hippocampus, the area of the brain area that helps us learn and remember things. Teenagers who drink a lot also have trouble with learning. We do not know yet whether these problems go away if the teenager stops drinking. Drinking at a young age makes it much more likely a person will develop alcoholism later in life. It's really important to wait as long as possible to drink alcohol, or to avoid it altogether.

-Aaron White

Do marijuana affect driving?

-nihao, Maryland

Yes--it affects the skills you need to drive safely--reaction time, motor coordination, and attention; and has been shown in driving simulator and road tests to impair performance. Further, when combined with even a small amount of alcohol, the effects are worse than either drug alone. Approximately 14% of fatally injured drivers in car crashes test positive for marijuana (sometimes in combination with other drugs).

-David Shurtleff

do most people do drugs as an escape or under pressure?

-vitelozi, Maryland

Both. Temporarily, drugs can change the way someone feels. BTW, so can other, healthier behaviors like exercising. You are very perceptive: wouldn't want to become a scientist would you? :) Check out this colorful booklet for more info:

-Bethany Deeds

Do most teens who use drugs stop taking drugs later in life?

-dever, New Jersey

Great question! Research has found that there are patterns of drug use that we can see if we follow development beginning in childhood, through late adolescence and young adulthood. One pattern is what we call the 'early starter' pattern. This pattern refers to beginning to experiment with drugs early in development, which increases the likeliehood of drug use and abuse in adolescence and young adulthood. Another pattern is what we call the 'later starter' pattern. This pattern refers to beginning to use drugs in adolescence but for a shorter period of time--reducing or ending use by late adolescence or young adulthood. These are not the only patterns of drug use. Drug use often relates to other problem behaviors like poor academic progress, delinquency, involvement with the criminal justice system, etc. It can get complicated very quickly--further creating problems down the road. We do know that drug use in childhood and adolescence can lead to later drug abuse and other problems, and it is best to never start. But, if you have started using already, you should know that the earlier you stop, the more likely you will be to avoid addiction and the other harmful consequences associated with it. For more information, see

-Belinda Sims

do nicotine patches really work ? they didnt work on my mom and dad

-nidachat, New Hampshire

I'm sorry to hear that nicotine patches did not help your mom or your dad quit smoking. People have different responses to therapy. Some people have been successful using the nicotine patches or nicotine gum. Other people have been successful with prescription medications such as varenicline. Maybe you should suggest to your parents that counseling (along with medication) is the best way to 'kick the habit'!!!Here is more, Good luck to your parents! Tell them to keep trying!

-Michelle Leff